RossTarrant, an architectural firm in Lexington, Ky., has a formula for building better, high-performance schools: Reduce overall energy use, include smarter products that provide for and protect higher energy efficiency, design in more natural lighting, and improve overall air quality.
MT. AIRY, N.C. - RossTarrant, an architectural firm in Lexington, Ky., has a formula for building better, high-performance schools: Reduce overall energy use, include smarter products that provide for and protect higher energy efficiency, design in more natural lighting, and improve overall air quality.
The firm recently worked with the Grant County (Ky.) Board of Education to design an elementary school to anchor their new 76-acre campus that will eventually accommodate three schools for the district and serve as a model for their high-performance endeavors.
Sherman Elementary in Dry Ridge, Ky., is energy and resource efficient, healthy, comfortable, well lit, and provides the ideal environment for the highest quality education.
“Because the school serves the entire community, it is an extremely effective tool for conveying the value of energy efficiency to children and families,” said Ronald E. Murrell, Jr., AIA, LEED AP BD+C, RossTarrant. “The building is also helping teachers instill the values of energy conservation and environmental stewardship in the community’s youth, providing a foundation for awareness and conservation for generations to come.”
One of the unseen heroes of the project is a product that provides three distinct, much-sought-after high-performance goals: saving more of the energy created through higher R-Value (measure of thermal resistance), acts as a barrier to water vapor to reduce and inhibit the growth of mold, and blocks airborne particulates like pollens, spores, mold, and allergens. The general contractor, DW Wilburn, chose InsulBloc spray foam insulation (SPF) by NCFI Polyurethanes.
“InsulBloc has been around since the late 1960s, but with the new demand for higher energy savings it’s become the in-demand, new generation insulation for commercial buildings,” said Doug Wilburn, President and CEO. “InsulBloc is a highly versatile, closed-cell, spray-in-place foam insulation with outstanding air barrier and moisture barrier qualities ideal for masonry walls. And since it’s seamless, it’s an excellent barrier to dust, drafts, pollen, and noise pollution, thus helping maintain healthy air quality.”
Sherman Elementary School also includes geothermal HVAC, and an ENERGY STAR roof membrane that helps cool the roof, and in turn, the entire building space. Occupancy sensors and timers control interior lighting while high-performance windows optimize day-lighting and control solar heat gain. Mitch Clifton, manager at NCFI, said the school is on the leading edge of a major design shift in U.S. buildings.
“RossTarrant is part of a new generation of design firms focused on a systems approach to building high-performance schools,” Clifton said. “They take into account every aspect from insulation, to HVAC, to lighting, to energy use, to water capture and use and how those parts contribute to the whole for a healthier, more energy efficient, more comfortable building. Its smart design and InsulBloc is the right choice.”